Onboarding new staff

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Onboarding new staff

Recruitment processes can be time-consuming and exhausting. They can often add extra pressure on existing employees if not planned well. This is often the case if they must perform part or all of the new employee’s duties until they are thoroughly trained and confident. If it’s a small business, they also may need to participate in interviews or in training new candidates. 

If this new hire doesn’t work out, and you have to start the process again – the associated costs are eye-watering. The REC estimates it at 3 x the salary of the new employee. So it’s essential to get it right. Unfortunately, sometimes employers think the recruitment process finishes when the candidate accepts the offer. In reality, that is just the beginning. 

It’s equally important to have the onboarding process right to ensure new candidates can show their full potential, be productive and become loyal employees. If attention is not paid to the onboarding process, the risk of losing a candidate and starting recruitment all over again is high. 

In this blog, we explore what steps you can take to improve the success of the onboarding process in the F&B sector. 

First, let’s start with the definition of onboarding.

“Onboarding” refers to how new colleagues are integrated into your organisation. It typically covers learning about the company, its structure, culture, vision and values, as well as more specific items like HR policies, introductions to team members and an outline of roles and responsibilities.  

Step 1: Have a structured onboarding procedure 

The onboarding procedures are often missing or incomplete if you’re in a small organisation with no HR team. So it’s crucial to have onboarding in place and review the process regularly, using feedback from all participating stakeholders.  

Step 2: Have a dedicated person for onboarding

Having a dedicated person in charge of onboarding ticks two boxes. First, it avoids miscommunication in the hiring company over whose responsibility onboarding is and ensures the process is carried out correctly. 

The onboarding champion can be the same for each recruit, or you can vary depending on the role. But it is important that this person is aware of the onboarding procedure; perhaps they have been involved in creating the process and reviewing it. This person can take more of a coordinator role; they don’t have to lead the training for new recruits. Instead, they need to ensure the training happens along with the rest of the onboarding, like scheduling meetings for inductions, training, feedback sessions, organising IT, arranging the social events and so on. 

Step 3: Start Onboarding Early

Onboarding often starts too late. It would be best to start thinking about welcoming your new employee sooner rather than later. Keep in mind how long the hiring process has taken and what notice period candidates have with their previous employers.

You can speed up the onboarding process slightly by engaging with your new colleagues early so they feel welcomed and part of the company before their first day on the job. For example, send them a welcome pack with company information, their job role, contact details etc. Or make a phone call before their start date to make them feel welcome. Importantly, to avoid further delays, ensure all equipment, passwords and necessary access are set up for their start on day one.

Step 4: Share the bigger picture  

When onboarding new staff, ensure you cover all the necessary details about their role. In addition, sharing the bigger picture is equally important. It helps give purpose and context to the position. This can include things like company culture, values, and expectations. If you miss out on any of this information, it can leave the new employee feeling lost, confused and worst of all, disengaged. Here’s a checklist of key details to include, especially in Food and Beverage businesses, when you’re onboarding:

– A tour of the premises and, for larger premises, a site map

– Critical phone numbers for the team and wider business

– Health and Safety Procedures on-site

– Food Hygiene Procedures on-site

– Introduction to the HR team and relevant HR policies like booking annual leave, sickness absence policies, etc.

– Company targets and goals linked to the relevant department and personal goals and targets

– Understanding the needs of other stakeholders

It might sound like an overwhelming list from the start, but remember, it does not have to be done by the same person. Instead, spread duties across the relevant teams and schedule short appointments for new candidates with members from other departments. 

Step 5: Assigning a Mentor While Onboarding 

Every new employee needs a point of contact. Someone they can go to with questions or concerns. This is especially important in the early days of their employment when they are still getting used to the company and their role. The mentor could be their line manager or department head, particularly in a smaller business. In a larger firm, it’s often helpful to have a mentoring scheme that crosses departments to help foster an inclusive culture and greater understanding of the business processes.

Step 6- Social Element in the Onboarding 

To help break the ice and encourage team members to get to know each, organising a welcome team coffee morning or after-work drinks will help your new hire feel like part of the team. It can help foster strong relationships and loyalty in a group. Plus, your existing team will often welcome the chance to ‘down tools’ and get to know their new colleagues.

Step 7 – Schedule Feedback Sessions

Schedule regular check-ins as part of your onboarding. It’s too easy to have a couple of early check-ins and then fall out of sync after a few weeks. Keep up these one-to-one meetings to check progress and staff development and monitor how your recruit is settling in.

Onboarding Remote Employees 

Many food and beverage industry employees will need to be on-site, especially for the manufacturing and logistics side of the industry. However, more administrative functions can work remotely or use a part-office, part-home-based hybrid model. If you recruit colleagues who will work remotely, it is just as important, if not more so, to make sure they feel included in the business. 

There are a few key things you can do to make sure your remote employees feel valued and supported:

– Send them a welcome pack with company information, their job role, contact details, etc.

– Schedule regular check-ins – follow the same process as on-site employees, and don’t let these check-ins slip! 

– Set up social events – We might be ‘zoomed-out’ and feeling video meeting fatigue, but options to have off-line, non-work calls are usually welcomed by employees. Even if it’s just a virtual coffee morning, this will help your new staff feel like part of the team.

For any colleagues, ask for feedback about both the recruitment and the onboarding process. Most importantly, take note of the input. You can improve things for future new starters by hearing it and acting on it.

By following these simple tips, you can avoid the most common onboarding mistakes and set your new staff up for success from their very first day. With a little bit of planning, onboarding can be smooth sailing from start to finish.

For advice or help with recruiting and onboarding new staff or finding your next role, contact RND Recruitment – specialist recruiters to the Food and Beverage sector, including suppliers and manufacturers across the UK but specifically in London and the South East.